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When you ask Aus­tralia’s lead­ing chefs for their pick of the lit­tle black dress of the culi­nary world, it seems there are many clas­sic dishes that will never go out of fash­ion, writes AN­THONY HUCKSTEP.

These days you’re more likely to see a list of in­gre­di­ents on a menu than a named dish, but there are some old favourites that just never go out of fash­ion.we’re look­ing at you chicken sch­nitzel, prawn cock­tail and pavlova. Chef Jo Bar­rett of Oakridge in the Yarra Val­ley backs the schnitty. “At the pub or dressed up as chicken leg ter­rine, crumbed, fried and served with a purée – it’s still crumbed chicken and I love it. It’s the only thing that keeps me a car­ni­vore and makes me feel guilty”.

Bar­rett, one of Aus­tralia’s best pas­try chefs, also has a sweet tooth and couldn’t live without lemon tart. “It’s sat­is­fy­ing to eat and ticks all the acid­ity, sweet, creamy, crisp and flavour notes we all love,” she says. “It has been rein­vented and de­con­structed, but con­tin­ues to be rock solid just the way it was meant to be, as a tart. For chefs, there’s noth­ing to hide be­hind – its de­li­cious­ness is in its sim­plic­ity and pre­ci­sion.”

Maha restau­rant’s Shane Delia has a soft spot for an Ital­ian clas­sic. “I love go­ing to Ital­ian restau­rants and for me a sim­ple gnoc­chi fritto and pro­sciutto is pretty hard to beat,” says Delia. “It gets me every time.”

De­li­cious. se­nior editor Matt Pre­ston looks to the boot, too, for a dish he be­lieves stands the test of time.

“Noth­ing is sacro­sanct in fancy finedin­ers,” says Pre­ston, “but I can’t see a day when the Margherita pizza ever dis­ap­pears. It’s the clas­sic sim­plic­ity of great puffy and slightly elas­tic dough, bright tomato sauce that’s loaded with nat­u­ral sweet­ness and acid­ity and the milky moz­zarella that en­sures that it’s a keeper.”

A cou­ple of surely en­dur­ing clas­sics are the picks of chef Zac Nicholson of Mel­bourne’s new Hazel restau­rant. “Oys­ters and steak tartare are things I’d never like to see come off the menu,” he says. “Ev­ery­one does a ver­sion of tartare now and I love it, and noth­ing on the planet beats a freshly shucked oys­ter. It’s the per­fect start to a meal.”

Three Blue Ducks chef and co-owner Darren Robert­son has a list of old­school favourites that he has to or­der when­ever he sees them on a menu. “There’s a few dishes I’ve al­ways loved and am re­ally en­joy­ing their re­birth on menus,” he says. “I’m a sucker for a chicken-liver par­fait, bone mar­row on toast or a clas­sic ter­rine.all that old-school stuff is amaz­ing and when ex­e­cuted well they never let you down,” he says.

“I feel the same way about lemon tarts and crum­bles.there’s some­thing so deeply sat­is­fy­ing about those homestyle pud­dings.the sim­plic­ity of them, like a tarte Tatin – I want one right now just think­ing about it.”

From the Rock­pool Bar and Grill Syd­ney, chef Corey Costello can’t do without a clas­sic Aus­tralian pub sta­ple. “Fried cala­mari is some­thing I never get tired of,” he says. “It’s very sel­dom you put a plate of it down on a ta­ble and it doesn’t get de­voured.

“Like­wise a Cap­rese salad. If the ta­ble is or­der­ing and some­one throws it in at the end of the or­der no one com­plains about too much food.”

Clay­ton Wells of Au­tomata is with him. “I just love a Cap­rese salad made with re­ally good toma­toes, olive oil and fresh milky cheese. It’s sim­ple but you can’t beat it.”

It’s bis­tecca, or T-bone, with all the trim­mings and shared among friends that makes O Tama Carey, chef-owner of Lankan Filling Sta­tion in Dar­linghurst, the hap­pi­est. “I had one last night at Fratelli Par­adiso with roast pota­toes and a green salad and it was just so good,” she says. “It does rely on a qual­ity piece of meat and some­one to be able to cook it prop­erly, but when you get that right, a beau­ti­ful piece of beef is hard to beat.”

De­li­cious. con­trib­u­tor Colin Fass­nidge agrees. He re­calls his early days in the kitchen when every chef worth their salt had a ver­sion of steak frites. “Steak frites with a café de Paris but­ter for me is the best dish and that will never go out of fash­ion,” says Fass­nidge.

“It’s just great bistro food,with no frills and full of flavour. It’s a sim­ple dish. It’s not sim­ple to get right,but,boy,when some­one nails it, there’s noth­ing bet­ter.

“A beau­ti­fully cooked piece of beef, and chips that just soak up all the juices from the sauce. It re­minds me of my early cook­ing days and I just love it,” he says.

From chicken sch­nitzel and beef tartare to a good old-fash­ioned lemon tart, it seems when you ask our lead­ing chefs that the clas­sics will al­ways be in fash­ion.

From fruit crum­bles to all man­ner of tartares, the de­li­cious. site is chocker with clas­sic dishes. Head to de­li­

NEVER GETS OLD Monty Kolu­drovic puts a mod­ern spin on a clas­sic with his prawn cock­tail en­dive cups (see the recipe at de­li­

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